French public holidays

Dates of the public holidays in France

France has 14 Public Holidays (referred to as Bank Holidays in the UK) during the year. Note that Whit Monday was abolished from 2005, in principle to raise extra funds for elderly and handicapped type causes, motivated by the thousands of elderly people who died during the earlier heatwave. This caused widespread strikes in the country.

 
 

Public Holidays

Date English name Local name Remarks
1 January New Year's Day Jour de l'An
6 January Epiphany Fête des Rois Not a public holiday
2 February Candlemas La Chandeleur Not a public holiday
moveable Easter Pâques Sunday, date varies
moveable Easter Monday Monday after Easter
1 May Labour Day Fête du Travail
8 May V-E Day Victoire 1945 End of WWII
varies Ascension Day Ascension Thursday, 40 days after Easter
varies Pentecost Pentecôte Seventh Sunday after Easter1
14 July Bastille Day Fête Nationale National Day
15 August Assumption of Mary Assomption
1 November All Saints Day Toussaint
11 November Veterans Day
Armistice Day
Remembrance Day
Armistice 1918 End of WWI
25 December Christmas Day Noël
 
 

There is no Boxing Day or Thanksgiving holiday in France.

Bastille day is a very important day with many towns, villages and monuments holding Bastille day fireworks displays and other events. If you are in France at this time look out for signs indicating either "feux d'artifice" or an "embrasement".

It is interesting to note that in France when a bank holiday falls on the weekend workers do not get an extra day off instead - so if Christmas day is a Sunday for example, the Monday is still a normal work day, not a 'public holiday carried forward'.

When a public holiday falls on a Thursday in France it is very common for employees to take the Friday off work (as part of annual leave allowances) - this is called 'making a bridge' ('faire le pont') in France.